Hurricane Party Guide
…Or, how to find out who your friends are
By Christie MathernePosted Jun 8, 2011
There comes a time in every southerner’s life when a certain…menace…develops over the Gulf of Mexico, and threatens to mow down everything and everyone they hold dear. Occasionally, it does. Think of it as the South’s very own seasonal Godzilla that appears at least 10 times a summer and talks a lot of talk, but sometimes gets lost and ends up in Virginia.
And then, every 50 years or so, it drowns a city.
Though it’s important to take this threat very seriously when it counts, most southerners also have said “f*ck it” at some point and just threw a party instead of running away. Call it moronic; call it part of the laissez-faire attitude ‘round these parts, but everybody’s off work and most businesses are closed. Everyone’s freezers are about to be shut off for who knows how long, and everything is better with company, of course…one might as well make a party and name a drink after it.
So we’ve put together a comprehensive Hurricane Party Guide for the southerner who doesn’t like worrying about a Category 2. (Just so you know: if it’s above that, and the government tells you to leave, do it.)
#1: Etiquette: Hosts
There are no “invitations” sent out for a Hurricane Party, but since these parties can rage on indefinitely, you should probably think a spell about who you don’t want to end up at yours.
See Fig. A for a complicated diagram on suggestions. It is advisable to study this diagram hard; if you skip this step, and your area ends up being hit harder than you planned for, you might find yourself between a cigarette-bumming fry cook and a drum circle – for days. Standing next to the person who’s boring when the power’s on.
And you can’t say Dig didn’t warn you.
#2: Etiquette: Guests
Don’t be anyone outside of the big circle (Fig. A). The best guests are the ones who contribute, because after all, you’re all in this together! Things that are great party gifts include, but are not limited to: ice, booze, non-perishable food items, the contents of your freezer inside of an ice chest (with ice inside), a can opener, a carton of cigarettes, ice, gasoline (for the generator), candles that don’t smell like a fake happy home, board games, charcoal, a gas stove, and old-timey coffee percolators. And more ice.
#3: The grill
The non-arguable best part of a Hurricane Party is the cookout. When guests bring over the contents of their freezers, it is a cornucopia of random ingredients…and the common denominator is a well-fired grill. Everything can be grilled; don’t let anyone tell you different. We can’t tell you how good a frozen pizza is when it’s cooked on a grill – you must experience it for yourself. There is, however, a tendency to over-do it on the first night, which leads us into #4…
#4: The first night
If all goes well, the first night will be the last night. Sometimes, this isn’t the case.
To prepare for the possibility of a two-night stay or longer, keep these things in mind:
...Bad Idea A: Grilling everything on the first night. We know it’s tempting to replicate how the pioneers made bacon blueberry cobbler, but hold off. The grill is there to feed everybody, not stuff everyone to the brim for one night only. When you tear down the constructs of a Hurricane Party, it’s really about surviving together. Make the goods last.
…Bad Idea B: Getting too drunk. There are at least two reasons that this is a bad idea.
Know yourself: If you end up at a Hurricane Party and you’re anyone outside of the big circle (Fig. A), you are not allowed to get too drunk, no exceptions. Also, there’s the notion of limited wealth: you will drink all the booze before it’s time to go back home, and there’s only so much Uno you can play while entirely sober. Remember, there are few places open to purchase anything. Be wary of drinking games – it’s an easy way to over-do it, and beer pong is just plain wasteful during 60mph gusts.
…Bad Idea C: Making daiquiris and/or frozen margaritas. Ice is a prized commodity at a Hurricane Party, therefore it should not be used for frivolous purposes. Daiquiris and frozen margaritas also induce sugar hangovers, and that means unnecessary expelling of bodily fluids. Remember always: this is not just any party. This is survival, and when everyone is trying to conserve, it’s almost selfish to have a sugar hangover. Also, plumbing might be an issue later on, and you don’t want to be the one who makes the bathroom intolerable for days on end. It’s a good idea to remember this when you’re considering Bad Idea A.
…Bad Idea D: Walking around in the raging winds. If the first night is when it’s supposed to get really hairy, getting loaded and walking around the neighborhood is going to seem like a great idea… until someone gets their head lopped off by a tree branch or someone’s wayward tin roof. That’s about as much fun as getting your head lopped off by a tree branch or someone’s wayward tin roof.
Though we’ve gone through the basics and broken things down to rules, the one real purpose of a Hurricane Party is essentially to attempt to forget that something very serious is going on around you. Check the safety level constantly, but have fun.
In the back of your mind, remember the reason you’ve chosen the people around you so meticulously: when the world is going to hell, these are the people you want to help out. You want them to conquer this storm with you. They’re the people you want to remember when you think back on these trying days, when you weren’t sure that everything you know and love would be there when you woke up the next day. You want to know these people are safe, and that’s why they’re with you. At the end, you are closer to these people than you may have ever wanted to be, and if you do it right, that will be a good thing.
Call it the laissez-faire attitude ‘round these parts, but there’s a lot of love beneath a Hurricane Party. Sometimes we have trouble saying these things down here, because there’s never a shortage of partying at any point, and everyone’s always invited. But when you’re invited to hunker down somewhere during a storm that might destroy everything, take it as an honor.
If you’re one of those people outside the big circle (Fig. A) and you’re invited to a Hurricane Party anyway, know that those people must deeply love you, and they would very much appreciate if you did not fight with your significant other, get too drunk before the power goes out, puke in a non-operational toilet, or smoke everyone’s cigarettes for days on end.
This article was written as a humorous explanation of a southern mental survival tactic. Do not make the mistake of throwing a Hurricane Party instead of evacuating, if someone who knows better than you tells you to leave town. Know your local evacuation routes well.
Hurricane season officially began on June 1. For official hurricane safety information, read the entirety of the FEMA hurricane safety guidelines at www.FEMA.gov/Hurricane/Index.shtm. Be safe.